Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Are You A Nocturnal Writer?

Why the photo of a bed? Because that is where I do some deep thinking and planning. We received word of the death of a very dear friend last evening. When I went to bed, sleep eluded me. I started thinking about Mike. Memories of good times came flooding back and they served to remind me of what a wonderful man he was. We traveled with Mike and his wife many times, often 3 weeks at a time. You can't help but get to know a person well in those circumstances. I started to mentally list his personality traits and with each positive on the list, my admiration for him grew. 

I have also planned writing projects while in my bed. The quiet, dark room allows my mind to run free. If I've been stuck in the middle of a story I leave my computer and go do something unrelated to writing. Sometimes that helps. Other times, it's not until I'm in the unlighted bedroom that a solution comes to me. 

I've had opening lines of a poem pop into my mind while trying to go to sleep. For some reason, the beginnings come swiftly while the next lines are more difficult. More thinking, no chance of going to sleep while searching for words that work with the ones that I have found so easily at first. 

Should you get up and write while the ideas are fresh in your mind? Will you stay up half the night if you do? I did leave my warm bed one winter night and spent an hour at the computer writing the story that had come to me right after lights out. Once I had that first draft done, I climbed back in bed and drifted off immediately. When my mind was at rest, my body soon followed. 

I don't write in the middle of the night very often, but I do occasionally jot down notes on a pad I keep on my nightstand. Keywords are enough to trigger whole thoughts the next day. When I don't make short notes, I can remember some things the next morning but not all. 

One big drawback of mentally writing after you get in bed is that you could end up with fewer hours of sleep and wake up groggy. If you have something you can continue to work on in the daylight, maybe it's worth it. A short afternoon nap could help. On the other hand, if you lay down in the middle of the day, you might start thinking about the next story you'll write. I wonder if we nocturnal writers look tired all the time. Sometimes, it's tough to be a writer! 

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